An English translation of the blog Ciudadano Cero from Cuba. "Citizen Zero" features the testimony of two Cuban doctors disqualified for an indefinite period for the practice of medicine in Cuba for having channeled to the Ministry of Public Health the opinions of 300 public health professionals about their salaries. Dr. Jeovany Jimenez Vega, who administers this blog, authorizes and appreciates the dissemination by any means possible, of every one of his opinions or articles published here.

Archive for August, 2011

A Difficult Task

The sordid and petty-minded spirits, when they are unassisted by reason and hold a position of power, tend to defend their arguments by force, and use physical violence or, worse, psychological, covert, and perpetual violence, but ultimately all of them are mixed and result in the most exotic and diverse forms of abuse of power, suffered by the helpless ordinary citizen against the designs of Olympus.

In a society where the division of powers is no more than a dusty utopia in dictionaries, these gods have unlimited powers over the common mortals, resulting in the impunity that is one of our endemic problems. Here, authority often receives the holy discretionary power to decide the fate of a man according to provisions susceptible to subjective readings, where there is never a lack of articles or clauses ambiguous enough to fit everything the official considers.

This was how the former Minister of Public Health, Dr. José Ramón Balaguer decided to disqualify two doctors who sent him the opinions of 300 workers about their wages, applying the third WHEREAS Ministerial Resolution 8 of 1977 which I quote:

WHEREAS: “Any conduct of professionals or health technicians, that in the practice of medicine in its various forms, is contrary to the principles, norms or values, of social, moral or human character generated by our socialist society under construction, can not only be injurious to the dignity of patients, the sensibilities of their relatives and to the credit and service that this organization, by its function, must maintain before the people it is obliged to serve, but that could put lives in danger and in extreme cases lead to the death of the first with the subsequent consequences this implies.”

Incomprehensibly, that Minister decided that this document, clearly intended to punish harmful acts of medical ethics occurring during the work of direct care for the patient or his relatives applies in this case. As this is a baseless accusation, it is not uncommon that the words “abuse”, “patient” or “family” are completely absent from the document that disqualified me. But despite everything, it was enough for a stroke of the pen from that Minister to settle my life and deny me the right to exercise the profession I love. It is always a difficult task to defend a point of view when it is not right, but he was a God elevated on his Olympian throne, and I just one of the most common of mortals. This functions reality in this wonderful little island in the Caribbean.

June 13 2011

Dr. Sorelis Victores Castillo. Why did I sign?



Six years ago, when Fidel spoke of increasing wages, we were all very excited because after several years of scarcities and needs this would help bolster our economy in the home. Substantial increases were expected, according to job performance and level of expertise.

The long-awaited moment arrived and as dentists we saw an increase of only 33 pesos (about $1.30 USD)  in our monthly salaries. The corridors were witnesses to the comments, to everyone’s anger and disappointment. My husband, Dr. Rodolfo Martinez Vigoa, and a colleague and friend, Dr. Jeovany Jimenez Vega, had the idea of writing a letter explaining the needs of workers in our industry, and comparing our wages to those of other sectors such as Cuba’s Security Services (SEPSA) for example. As a result of my helping them to collect signatures, I was fired from the position I had occupied for several years as Chief of Services for the Dental Clinic of Artemis.

To me, it seemed only right to sign that letter, to express my way of thinking, and so I rebelled and in this way came to know the gross and dirty ways used by this government and its party to maintain its “Revolution.”  A “Revolution” that preaches democracy, justice and respect for human rights. A “Revolution” that preaches that everyone pays according to their performance, according to their ability. A “Revolution” that does not practice what it preaches.

As a result of all this, my husband and his friend were declared ineligible to exercise their profession in late 2006. Would I sign this letter again? Yes I would sign it 100 times and I would also sign the letter from my husband and his friend in which they detailed every problem and every concern. I would do it again.

We are not slaves!

20 June 2011

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